In recognition of National Physical Therapy Month, the American Physical Therapy Association is focusing on fitness and wellness. The organization offers these tips for families to prevent and combat obesity.
● Plan weekend family activities involving physical activity, such as hiking, swimming, bicycling, mini-golf, tennis, or bowling.
● Help your child plan physical activities with friends and neighbors, such as skating or softball.
● Have your kids brainstorm a “rainy day” game plan of indoor activities such as fitness games such as Wii Fit or Dance Dance Revolution.
● Remember that your family does not need to join a health club or buy fancy equipment to be active. Walking is inexpensive and easy. So is designing a backyard obstacle course. Weights can be made from soda or detergent bottles filled with sand or water!
● Provide positive rewards for your child when he or she engages in physical activities, such as workout clothes, a new basketball, or an evening of roller-skating.
● Provide positive feedback about your child's lifestyle changes. Remember not to focus on the scale (for you or your child).
● Be your child's "exercise buddy." Plan daily walks or bike rides and set goals together for increasing physical activity rather than for losing weight. It’s also great “bonding” time!
● As you schedule your child's extracurricular activities, remember to plan time for exercise and activity as a priority for the entire family. Don't just "squeeze it in."
● Encourage children to try individualized sports such as tennis and swimming. Studies show such activities are the basis of lifelong fitness habits.
● Parents and children can do exercises while watching television (or at least during commercials), such as sit-ups, push-ups or running in place. Discourage snacking or eating meals while watching.